THE secret to a long life is "keep carrying on" according to a great-grandmother who celebrated her 100th birthday.

Margaret Cowell, celebrated the milestone birthday at MHA Belvedere Manor care home in Colne surrounded by her family and friends.

Mrs Cowell, born in Hull, was one of nine children and remembers the harsh times during the Great Depression - having to carry bread dough to a nearby bakery in order to use its ovens, before carting the cooked rolls back to her home.

Working as head cook at a cafe in the city, Mrs Cowell said she vividly remembers hiding in an air raid shelter in her garden during heavy bombing during the Second World War.

In 1945, at the age of 26, Margaret met her husband Glyn.

Due to Glyn's position in the navy, he was given 48 hours leave to marry Margaret which resulted in their wedding taking place in a bombed church with only half a roof.

The happy couple then moved across to Lancashire following Glyn's job offer to work for Rolls Royce in Barnoldswick.

A few years later the couple had two children, Michael and Glynis.

When asked about her hobbies, Margaret replied that she always loved to bake and when her children were growing up she was a big fan of knitting.

When asked about her secret to living a long and healthy life, Mrs Cowell said: "Look after yourself and keep carrying on."

Glynis Cowell, Margaret's daughter, said: "Mum is such a character – she loves to tell stories about her past, which I know the staff at Belvedere Manor love to hear.

"It was fantastic to see her opening her congratulatory card from the Queen, with its personalised message."

Her birthday event included speeches from her loved ones, a performance from Mrs Cowell's favourite entertainer at the home, 'Wild Bill', and a special tribute from her great-grandson on his guitar.

Ali Gopaul, home manager at MHA Belvedere Manor said: "Margaret is a much-loved member of our Belvedere family – she always has a smile on her face and has time for everybody.

"Big thanks to all of our staff for ensuring she celebrated in style."